by Tiffany Maleshefski

Well, the only thing really missing from this holiday season, at least here in San Francisco anyway, has been bitterly cold weather. Now that we can check that off of our lists, the only thing we can think about is the luscious hot cocoa over at Bar 888, located inside the Intercontinental Hotel. Hot cocoa (or hot chocolate, whatever your predilection), and its velvety, rich texture can make even the worst day, a not-that-bad day. So seductive it is, especially when it's all boozed up, just throwing itself at us, any bitterness we had about the cold melted away once we locked lips with chef Dominique Crenn's custom-blend hot chocolate. The executive chef at the Intercontinental's on-site restaurant, Luce, has created her own cocoa mix that brings together approximately four different kinds of artisan chocolate, which she then spices up. The effect: heaven on earth. In order to really experience this brand of holiday magic you'll really just have to go to the bar. And that wouldn't be a bad thing, especially since we've blazed the trail for you. So insistent we were that the rest of the world knows about this miracle cocoa, we all but forced anyone sitting next to have a sip (though a separate straw of course). And lest they think our desire demonstrate the age-old adage holidays are more about giving than receiving, be mistaken for drunkenness, one quick sip was all they needed to know we weren't actually drunk (yet), just star struck.

Crenn Chocolat Chaud
6 oz. Chef's chocolate (Or any chocolate you can get your hands on. Hell, why not even try a good ol' fashioned Hershey's bar.)
1.5 oz. Navan (vanilla liqueur by Grand Marnier)
Topped with whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg. Serve in a tall, clear latte cup.

Do: Keep 'em coming.
Don't: Use this as an excuse to your boss that you're just keeping warm and that's why you reek of brandy.